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Tech letters for May 14, 2003 - questions
Edited by John Stevenson
Confounded by carbon fiber? Need to sound off about superlight stuff? Tech letters is the forum for your gear-related questions and opinions.
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Today's batch of tech mail is rather huge, so we've split it in two. In part one, below, some new questions and points for discussion, and in part two, lots and lots of opinions on recent topics raised here, including the 2004 Dura-Ace, frame materials and the best road bike.
'Burping' tubular tires
Recently in a road race I hit a pothole very hard with my Veloflex Criterium tubulars. My wheel looked like it was going flat, but I continued on and finished the race, an additional 60 kilometers. When I got off the bike, the tire was semi hard. Upon pumping it up, its latex inner tube held air as if nothing was wrong. Is it possible to force air out of the tubular without damaging its integrity?
I am considering upgrading my Giant OCR 2 from 2001. I have a budget of £1500 which means a new frame with top components is out of the question. For wheels (I want carbon!) what are the best between Mavic Cosmic Carbon, HED Alps and Zipp 440? I really like the HEDs, but all the pros apart from Tyler Hamilton and CSC ride Mavic Cosmics, even though they are heavier. Also, are second hand carbon wheels to be avoided? I've seen some real bargains! Finally, is the top end FSA carbon chainset any better in weight and performance than Dura-Ace?
I am looking for a computer mount that I came across on one of this years bikes, sorry, can't remember which race the photo was taken at, but I really liked the way the computer was mounted. I think it was a Shimano Flight Deck.
It was set on an arm that sat out about 3 inches from the stem. It looked really trick and didn't clutter up the area too much.
Can anyone there identify with this vague request?? Any help you can provide will be appreciated.
I believe that's the cordless version of Flight Deck.
I currently have a pair of pre Flight Deck Dura-Ace shifters with worn out hoods. The shifters work great but, my local bike shop says there is no part number to replace said hoods. I have already ordered a pair of flight deck era hoods and they are incompatible. Certainly Shimano wouldn't have me spend hundreds of dollars to replace shifters that have only worn out rubber. In your tech wisdom do I have options?
If 'pre Flight Deck' means your levers are ST-7400, then the part number for the covers is Y-88B 98012.
I have a Shimano Flight Deck (cordless type) that's about 18 months old. It was operating fine until the other day when I went for a ride and found that the trip time, distance and average speed functions weren't working. All the other functions (speed, gears used, clock, total distance etc) are OK. I adjusted the sensor and replaced the battery but it didn't make any difference.
Does anyone have any ideas what might be wrong ? Does the unit need replacing or is there something else I can try ?
Does anyone have any experience of traveling with SRM cranks? I am worried about taking them on a plane in case the pressure or temperature in the hold damages them in some way. I thought about taking them off the bike and putting them in hand luggage, but given the security staff snapped the tiny file off my nail clippers I can't see them letting me through with a chainset in my carry-on!
If anyone has flown with SRMs fitted, I'd be grateful for their advice.
My understanding is that aircraft holds are usually heated and pressurized (or routine airline tasks like shipping people's pets would get tricky) so there shouldn't be a problem. This also means it's unnecessary to deflate your bike's tyres, as airlines often insist you do. In fact, even if the hold were completely depressurized, the effective increase in pressure in your tyres (about 10psi) would not be enough to blow a tyre off the rim. It always worries me slightly that airline rules are made by people who don't understand basic physics.
I'm about to buy a pulse watch. My criteria for the functions I want are: average and maximum pulse; average and maximum cadence; all the usual cycling features; downloadable to a PC.
There are quite a few producers of such watches, which ones would you recommend?
Polar heart rate monitors
I'm wondering if anyone could give me advice on the Polar s720 and the s520 HRMs. I'm a cyclist who races and will be training a lot this summer. Both products are a lot of money, but they seem worth it: to have cyclo-computer functions and HRM functions rolled into one so as not to interfere with one another or need two computers on my handlebar/wrist.
Should I go for it on this one, or keep separate HRM and cyclo-computer? And if I should stay separate--what HRM would you recommend?
Thank you very much for your help.
I need to get a fork for an integrated headset frame. Do I need to get an integrated fork with the wider crown, or is that only a cosmetic feature?
From: Winsean Lin
I recently discovered a gift which my uncle had given me 30 years ago. I was seven at the time and had gone to one of his races. He'd won the race and along with his prize money was given a Saavedra complete set, light alloy cotterless crankset. It's still in its original box, never used. The box has the name Cosme Saavedra Buenos Aires Argentina on it. It is a 170mm crankset, 52-42. Can you tell me who Cosme Saavedra was and if the cranks produced are of any significance? Thank you.
Cosme Saavedra was a famous Argentinean cyclist of the 20s, and a Google search appears to indicate that he had a bike shop after he retired, which is perhaps where your cranks came from.
I own a 2002 Orbea XLR8R with the team paintjob and it's a stunning bike. The carbon seatstays soften the ride yet the aluminum is responsive and light. For 2002, its also a better paint job in the orange and yellow than the recent orange and blue. The dealer from whom I bought the bike noted that he's selling more of them and is concerned that as the company sells more bikes in the US, the paint job quality may slip, I hope not! Do others find that as a company gains popularity, quality control begins to slip?
Orbea Team 03
This is a question for Thomas Licker's post. Do you own the Lobular full aluminum frameset or do you own the Lobular Carbon frameset? I'm getting ready to purchase an Orbea...and if the ride is that good on just the full aluminum Lobular I'll just save some money and pass on the carbon seatstays.
What is your opinion on Ritchey products, especially on the road? Seems like most folks get a group from Campagnolo or Shimano for the most part, but I'm seeing a good amount of teams using Ritchey components.
I would like to change from Shimano 9 speed (Ultegra) to Campagnolo 10 Speed (Chorus), but would like to keep some of my existing stuff:
- Hed Alps rear wheel for Shimano 9 speed.
The main issue is of course the Hed rear wheel. What is the solution to make the wheels work on Campagnolo? Change the "boss" on the wheel from Shimano to Campagnolo compatible? Use the Mavic 10 speed cassette that should be compatible with both Shimano and Campagnolo? (I've read that the American Classic cassette does not work for WH6500)
I'm planning to being riding for fitness purposes. I bore easily, so I'll want to have a bike that can go on roads and paths, not just in the velodrome. Both the other people in my house are bike nuts, with state-of-the-art mountain bikes with a million gears, and fancy brakes, and so forth. They spend a great deal of time maintaining their bikes.
When I think about riding for fitness, it occurs to me that I don't want any gears - at least, not more than three. If I can minimize maintenance and weight by having a single-speed bike, that's ideal. If I have to really work hard to get up hills, and if I can't go fast in flat areas, it won't harm my fitness regimen at all.
But I can't find any new single-speed bikes! I'd like to have the benefits of modern chain and frame engineering, so an old steel second-hand bike won't do. A lighter aluminium frame would suit better because it won't rust and is easier to lift.
Can anyone suggest a source of a really simple bike like this?
I ride a Merida 905 aluminium (2002 model) with a 105 group. A common feature I have found with the Merida frames are that they have extra long top tubes. I ride a 54cm frame but it has a 56cm long top tube. The overall reach is 60cm (centre of seat to centre of handlebar). My question is, what are my options for reducing the overall 'reach' length. Should I get a shorter stem? I just want a more comfortable position.
De Sheng Lim